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'Confidence is shattered: our most vulnerable pupils suffer the after-effects of the Sats regime

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Feb 14, 2018.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Colin Harris gives his views in Tes about the Sats 'sausage machine':

    ‘It’s that time of year. Across the country, primary after primary is gearing up for the mad dash towards Sats week.

    It’s impossible to overstate how badly wrong most of English education has got the last year of primary. Take, for example, transition. At the end of key stage 2 our kids face the most formidable challenge as they move to secondary school, and yet, rather than focusing on preparing them for this leap, we force them into the Sats sausage machine.

    Too often this impersonal regime of endless test prep shatters the confidence of our most vulnerable pupils at the very point when it is most needed.

    It’s worth stating that these days transition is handled way, way better than it used to be, with schools talking to one another about pupils, and many more familiarisation visits. But we cannot get away from the fact that Year 6 teachers are forced to target almost all their energy on achieving the "age-appropriate" or better scores.’


    What are your thoughts on this topic? Do we need to shift the focus from Sats to skills that would better prepare pupils for the transition from primary to secondary education? What do you think of the Year 6 curriculum? Do you feel like you are forced to devote almost all your energy on helping children achieve the all-important Sats scores?
  2. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    We need to teach a curriculum which is appropriate for primary children. There are no transition 'skills', although there certainly needs to be preparation & familiarisation time; there also needs to be more opportunities for teachers to TALK with each other, rather than just hand over pieces of paper and strings of data.

    You can't isolate the Y6 curriculum from the rest of the primary curriculum, and also from the KS3 curriculum. However, what is taught in Y6 is heavily skewed towards SATs preparation, meaning other important curriculum areas are taught very sketchily in many cases. And the most recent primary curriculum is very heavy on facts and light on practical work and applications.

  3. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Thank you @chelsea2 for your comments.

    Do you think children suffer as a result?

    Would you like to see more practical work? In an ideal world, what should be the focus of the Year 6 curriculum?

    What do other teachers think?
  4. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    I think they do.

    As I said on Personal... this might be the origin of anxiety at GCSE. Maybe our exam focus is creating "Generation Snowflake."
  5. emmat34

    emmat34 New commenter

    Yes, we focus on SATs - we have to teach the skills needed to pass the test - often in the form of identifying what the question wants you to answer - and that takes some preparation. If teachers could be allowed to assess accurately then all would be well. However there needs to be something. Some children suffer but some grow as a result. My class look forward to SATs - a lot of activities take place in SATs week and after. Practical work can be used towards the writing assessment (which is what i do). As for the transition to secondary - any good Yr6 teacher would be making their children more independent for remembering their belongings; needing their PE kit on the right day; handing in their homework on the correct day and on time and knowing strategies for helping themselves with their independent learning. We do try for the secondary schools but sometimes the parents are a little over protective and do too much which doesn't help the child in the long run.
    it would be interesting to see what other people think; I feel I TRY to hit all the boxes.

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